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Strong Gravel Garden

By Surrey based garden designer Karen Holley. A busy professional couple wanted a sunny Mediterranean garden in their south facing property, with easy access to the gym at the end of the garden for the personal training business run from home.

Strong Gravel Garden by Surrey based garden designer Karen Holley

Photo: Pyrus Calleryana Chanticleer on the left will grow to provide privacy from the flats beyond. Whilst the patio has ample space to relax and entertain a small group of friends. 

When moving into their property they were faced with a garden that was full of every garden feature imaginable and lots of different materials, the overall effect was chaotic and difficult to manage, and there was no clear path from gate to gym. They loved bright colours and modern art, so Karen helped them to create a garden that wasn’t traditional, was full of colour and had space for a few quirky objects that they had collected.

Strong Gravel Garden by Surrey based garden designer Karen Holley

Photo: A stepping stone winds through the gravel to the gym at the end of the garden.  Thyme and Erigeron karvinskianus tumble over the gravel.

A large patio for entertaining was key as was space for a garden sofa or hammock part way down the garden. Visitors would come to work out in the gym from early morning to later in the evenings, so in the winter months the path needed to be free from obstacles and well lit.

Strong Gravel Garden by Surrey based garden designer Karen Holley

Photo: A pair of olive trees frame a space in the garden for an additional seating area for a bench or a hammock. 

As the couple were very busy and often working away from home, Karen decided to avoid using lawn and that the small space was better served with good size beds and some great planting, so opted for a gravel garden effect, with stepping stones working their way down the garden through the planting.

Strong Gravel Garden by Surrey based garden designer Karen Holley

Photo: The view back towards the house showing the simple entertaining space with room for a large sofa and barbeque. An existing myrtle adds to the fragrance of lavenders and thyme.

The team rebuilt the pergola outside the gym to allow the climbing rose to cover and soften the gym, and to create some shade for those sunny days. Two Pyrus Calleryana Chanticleer (ornamental pears) were planted along one boundary to help to screen the flats in the distance and give some privacy.

Strong Gravel Garden by Surrey based garden designer Karen Holley

Photo: Erigeron and Hakonechloa offering contrasting edging. 

Plant list:

Cistus 'Silver Pink'
Aster x frikartii 'Monch'
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Echinacea purpurea
Cynara cardunculus
Achillea 'Terracotta'
Erigeron karvinskianus
Olea europaea
Rosa 'Rambling Rector'
Acer palmatum var. dissectum atropurpureum
Agapanthus africanus
Thymus serpyllum
Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead'
Salvia x sylvestris 'Mainacht'
Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer'
Rosa 'Veilchenblau'
Lonicera japonica var. repens
Hemerocallis 'Golden Chimes'
Geranium 'Rozanne'
Hebe 'Emerald Green'
Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'
Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet'
Aethionema 'Warley Rose'
Salvia rosmarinus
Centaurea 'Amethyst on Ice'
Eryngium zabelii 'Big Blue'
Helenium 'Ruby Tuesday'
Allium Superglobe Mix
Astrantia major 'Abbey Road'
Astelia 'Silver Shadow'
Designed by Karen Holley